Byzantine medicine

Alexandros of Tralleis
(approx. 525 - 605):

"Twelve books about medicine"
(Volume I, Chapter 15)


"The proof that epilepsy originates in the stomach lies in the fact that a feeling of restlessness and gnawing begins in the stomach and then the patient feels the affliction approaching. [...]

As soon as the patient gets up in the morning and has emptied his bowels, he should drink an infusion of hyssop, which will do him a lot of good, as many have been healed simply by drinking this, and were only taken ill two or three times.

It is forbidden to drink undiluted wine after taking a bath as nothing can set off a seizure more easily than this - and indeed undiluted wine is in general dangerous for all epileptics."

  • Correct statements:
  • An aura (see Galen) can take the form of a stomach complaint.
  • Alcohol can increase the risk of having an epileptic seizure.
  • Incorrect statement:
  • Plants or parts of plants (like hyssop) are effective cures for epileptic seizures.
    (Correct: There are no herbal remedies for epilepsy.)
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Museo alemán de epilepsia en Kork